Chicago is close to allowing in-person sports betting at professional sports stadiums — with help from some of the city’s most notable sports figures.
An ordinance with support from Cubs chairman Tom Ricketts, Blackhawks owner Rocky Wirtz, and White Sox and Bulls owner Jerry Reinsdorf has been approved by Chicago’s City Council Joint Committee on Licensing and Zoning.
Despite the approval, integrating in-person sports betting at venues has faced criticism due to concerns of the viability of Chicago-based casinos amid increased competition.
Soldier Field Plans
Chicago’s willingness to implement in-person sports betting at professional sports venues has also impacted the Chicago Bears and the team’s desire to build a new stadium.
- The Bears, who have called Soldier Field home since 1971, signed a purchase agreement in September for the Arlington International Racecourse property in a deal valued at $197.2 million.
- The benefits of the Arlington site include an option to have an enclosed stadium and a sports betting lounge.
- Bears president Ted Phillips stated that the Chicago Park District has refused “to engage in good-faith discussions” about integrating sports betting opportunities at Soldier Field.
Illinois, which requires in-person registration to wager on sports, has reported $556 million in sports betting revenue with a total handle of $7.3 billion since March 2020 — when it became legalized in the state.